5 tips for successfully moving applications to the cloud

Onward and upward
Onward and upward

Five Tips for Successfully Moving Applications to the Cloud

The cloud is attractive to businesses because it offers unmatched flexibility along with savings and expanded capabilities. That's why migration to the cloud is expected to continue, with an anticipated cloud spending expansion rate of 25% in 2015 to surpass $100 billion, according to IDC predictions. Industry analyst firm Gartner predicts that worldwide cloud services spending will top $677 billion from 2013 through 2017, factoring in the rapidly growing sector of cloud advertising.

Your company may understandably be weighing a jump on the cloud bandwagon; the advantages can be significant. But before you make a decision, it's important to fully understand your goals and the risks involved in making the move. By planning ahead, you can improve your chances of a successful migration and achieve long-term benefits. Here are five tips that can help you prepare your business to move applications to the cloud.

1. Define your ROI. Before you make a move to the cloud, take the time to outline the expected savings over your company's existing costs. Conduct a detailed analysis, factoring in elements like expected hardware savings, reduced staffing expenses, lower energy costs, application changes and organizational efficiency. This will help you get a clearer picture of your objectives.

2. Identify applications that will need additional protection. Classifying information assets is an important component of a successful move to the cloud. Take a look at account requirements for physical and technical security, as well as your procedural and legal obligations. It's crucial to accurately identify, classify and protect information at all levels to achieve a successful move.

3. Make sure your applications will perform well in the cloud. If you intend to migrate existing code, it's crucial to make sure it's compatible with cloud operations. It may need to be refactored due to the different underlying architectures that support cloud-hosted applications and systems. You can optimize performance of cloud applications by code refactoring, and should consider doing so whenever you change to a different infrastructure.

4. Find out who will monitor application performance. Deploying applications to the cloud is no more a one-off event than installing applications on internal servers. Your business likely depends on the performance of key applications and systems, so you'll need to continuously monitor performance yourself, or make sure your cloud partner will do it for you.

5. Make sure you have a plan if something goes wrong. Even if you test a migration repeatedly, it's possible that you'll experience issues and have to roll it back to keep operations running while you find a fix. Make sure you have a plan in place before you deploy an application in a cloud environment.

The acceleration to the cloud is expected to continue for the foreseeable future because of the many benefits companies gain when they make the move. But it's important to keep in mind that the cloud isn't for every business. Weigh your options carefully, and if you decide that moving applications to the cloud is right for your business, keep these tips in mind to make sure your migration is a success.